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News > Context Winter 2021 > ArtYard Center

ArtYard Center

Photo: Paul Warchol
Photo: Paul Warchol

ArtYard is an interdisciplinary alternative contemporary art center comprised of an exhibition space, theater, and residency program, dedicated to presenting transformative artwork, fostering unexpected collaborations, and incubating original new work. Opened in 2021, ArtYard Center honors Frenchtown’s industrial past and the organization’s mission to bring provocative art, performance, and creative mischief to a small town at the Delaware River’s edge.

At its core is a state-of-the-art theater, wrapped in a gallery, and the building’s layered entrance creates a secondary outdoor stage that overlooks the Delaware River and a generous architectural “yard.”

The sturdy exterior shell responds to the forces of the river and reflects the scale, craft, and forms of the early industrial buildings that were once on this site and throughout the Delaware Valley. The interior is distinctly modern, defined by threshold moments, exposed structural materials, isolated steel walls, embedded artifacts, and large open spaces for art.

The architectural journey from the entrance, past the ticket booth, and up grand stairs visually reconnects one to the town and takes visitors through the galleries and past the brass bar into the theater lobby and vestibule.

Finally, the impressive view of the theater space opens from above to reveal a dramatic auditorium below. Stadium seating allows for clear views to the edge of the stage, which is optimized for dance and theatre. A full catwalk system, 39-line sets with pinrail spotlines allows the theater to take on a variety of shows and performances. A reclaimed plastic bottle chandelier by the artist Willie Cole is suspended from the ceiling. The winding aisle path to one’s chair heightens the anticipation of the act to come.

Project: ArtYard Center

Location: 13 Front Street, Frenchtown, NJ

Client: ArtYard

Project Size: 20,981 sq ft

Project Team:

Edward Robinson Architecture & William Welch Architecture (Architects)

Bob Hsu, Architect (Project Advisor)

NV5 (Civil Engineer)

Larsen and Landis (Structural Engineer)

Pyrus Horticultural (Landscape Architect)

Aaron Jia (MEP Urban Technologies)

Beam (Lighting Consultant )

Chris Langhart (Technical Director)

John Chester (Acoustic and Projection Consultant)

RWDI (Acoustics)

Goddard Design Co. (Theatrical Lighting Control)

Doherty Construction and Rigging (Rigging Consultant)

R&D LLC (Seating Consultant)

Rich Bittner (Dance Floor Consultant)

Sinclair Inc. (Audio, Video, and Projection)

W.S. Cumby Construction (General Contractor)

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